By Jackson Taylor, News Editor
The University of Nebraska at Omaha flight team has a long-standing tradition of success and award winning. The Flying Mavs recently competed in the 2014 National Safety and Flight Evaluation Conference (SAFECON), bringing home several top-place finishes in different aviation competitions. Along with the success of the students, Director of UNO’s Aviation Institute Scott Vlasek received an award himself: Vlasek was named “National Coach of the Year” at the SAFECON Competition hosted by Ohio State.
Vlasek said he is truly honored to have been selected as Coach of the Year, the first time UNO has received the award. “ I have amazing kids on the team that are dedicated to its success,” Vlasek said.
SAFECON ran from May 12 to 18 in Columbus, Ohio. Seven UNO students competed in the contest: senior co-captain Travis Huetter; juniors Ben Rehler, Kyle Broich and Blake Zessin; sophomores Nick Lyman and Jon Collins; and freshman Madeline Sullivan. Huetter won third place in Men’s Achievement and 10th in Short Field Landing. Lyman finished eigth in Short Field Landing. Collins was named Outstanding Team Member for the Mavs.
As a whole, the UNO Aviation Team finished 16th overall. The national champion was Southern Illinois. The Mavs finished ahead of many traditionally dominant aviation programs like Auburn University and the Florida Institute of Technology.
“Nationals was one of the most eye-opening experiences I have ever been included in,” Sullivan said.